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Muslims pack BJP minority forum

india Updated: May 25, 2007 20:45 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday constituted the national executive of its Minority Morcha ignoring almost all minorities other than Muslims.

Heading it is BJP's sole Muslim face in the Lok Sabha, Syed Shahnawaz Husain, as its president. It has no Sikhs or Parsees among the office bearers or as members of the national executive or as permanent invitees or special invitees.

Save a few Christians, it is virtually an all Muslim Minority Morcha.

Of the four vice presidents, only one is a Christian. Similarly, of five secretaries, one is a Christian. In the 40-member national executive there are three Christians.

All nine permanent invitees are Muslims. And among 44 special invitees there are only three Christians.

The exclusion of Sikhs from the Morcha is significant because the BJP has an alliance with the Shirmonai Akali Dal.

BJP leaders refused to say anything on record, but one involved with preparing the list of members remarked: "We don't include Sikhs among the minorities. That is because the RSS considers Sikhs as an extension of the Hindu panth."

There was no explanation about Parsees, many of whom, particularly in Mumbai, have been BJP voters.